TRS SSP Employer FAQs
1. What is the TRS Supplemental Savings Plan (SSP)?
The SSP is a 457(b) retirement savings account that:
- Is optional for eligible TRS members;
- Is designed to supplement a member’s TRS pension – not replace it;
- Offers both pre-tax and Roth savings options;
- Allows members to choose deferral amounts and make investment choices;
- Was designed by TRS to offer a competitive, cost-effective plan with an array of diverse investments;
- Is governed in accordance with the Plan Document and state and federal law.
2. Are employers required to adopt the SSP?
All employers must comply with the reporting and administrative functions established by the System and are required to implement the benefits established under this Section.
To formally adopt the TRS SSP, employers’ governing body must first adopt a resolution to approve the adoption of the Plan for its eligible employees. Employers should then submit the completed Supplemental Savings Plan Employer Participation Agreement and Authorized Contact Form to TRS using the secure Document Upload area within Employer Access online.
3. Is there a deadline for employers to adopt the SSP?
TRS set a September 30, 2022 deadline to adopt the SSP. Adoption of the SSP is necessary to ensure all eligible TRS members have the ability to participate in the SSP should they wish to – this is a benefit they have under 40 ILCS 5/16-204. The law requires eligible employees to have this benefit even if an employer already sponsors a 457(b) plan.
Eligible members are only able to enroll if their employer has adopted the Plan – a list can be found at Participating SSP Employers. The list is updated frequently with an “as of” date.
4. Who is eligible to participate in the SSP?
Active TRS members who are full-time (FT) or part-time (PT) contractual employees are eligible to participate in the SSP. However, eligible TRS members can sign up for the SSP only after their employer formally agrees to participate in the SSP. View https://www.trsil.org/participating-ssp-employers for a list of participating employers.
Retired and inactive TRS members are not eligible to participate in the SSP. Participation in the SSP by members is voluntary.
5. Are employees required to enroll or is it optional?
Effective January 10, 2022, TRS implemented the TRS SSP with the option for eligible members to affirmatively elect to enroll.
Whether members affirmatively elect to enroll or are automatically enrolled (for those first employed in a TRS-covered position on or after January 1, 2023), SSP participation by members is optional.
6. Who will be automatically enrolled in the SSP? Why is TRS implementing Automatic Enrollment?
Active TRS members who are full-time or part-time contractual employees first employed in a TRS-covered position on or after January 1, 2023 and employed by a participating employer of the SSP, will be automatically enrolled in the SSP with contributions of 3% of their pre-tax compensation per pay period, unless they cancel their scheduled automatic enrollment or make a different affirmative election at trsilssp.voya.com or via the TRS SSP Service Center at 844-877-4572 (844-TRS-457B) prior to their automatic enrollment effective date noted in the Automatic Enrollment Notice.
Employers are not responsible for determining if an employee should be automatically enrolled in the SSP. Employers should report employees accurately and timely for TRS Defined Benefit reporting and SSP eligibility will be determined based on this information.
TRS is required to implement automatic enrollment in accordance with 40 ILCS 5/16-204
7. What does it mean to be automatically enrolled in the TRS SSP?
When an eligible employee is automatically enrolled, the following occurs:
- 3% of the employee’s pre-tax compensation will be withheld and deposited into their SSP account each pay period.
- Contributions will be invested in the Plan’s designated default investment option, which is the Target Date Retirement Fund closest to the employee’s expected retirement date at age 65 based on date of birth.
8. How are employees notified if they are eligible to enroll or will be automatically enrolled in the SSP?
New employees are reported to the SSP recordkeeper after they are reported via TRS Defined Benefit (DB) reporting following their first payroll. In about 7 – 10 days, SSP-eligible employees will receive an SSP PIN document in the mail.
Separately, they will receive a packet explaining their specific enrollment options.
TRS members first employed in a TRS-covered position on or after January 1, 2023:
Receive an Automatic Enrollment Notice at their home address, explaining they will be automatically enrolled into the SSP at 3% of their pre-tax compensation if they do not make a change to their SSP deferral amount or opt out on or before their automatic enrollment effective date, which is identified in the Automatic Enrollment Notice, and is 30 days after their information is received and processed by the SSP recordkeeper. They will also receive an Automatic Enrollment Guide detailing the SSP and their options.
15 days after a new employee is reported to the SSP recordkeeper, if the employee has not taken action, a 15-day reminder notice will be mailed to the member’s home address.
After the automatic enrollment effective date, if the employee has not taken action, they will be automatically enrolled in the SSP at 3% of pre-tax compensation and an Automatic Enrollment Confirmation Notice will be mailed to the member at their home address.
TRS members first employed in a TRS-covered position prior to January 1, 2023:
Receive an Eligibility Notice, explaining they are eligible to enroll in the SSP. They will also receive an Enrollment Guide detailing the SSP and how to enroll.
Upon enrollment in the SSP the participant will receive a Confirmation Notice.
9. How do eligible employees enroll or opt out of the the SSP?
Eligible employees can enroll in the SSP 24/7 at trsilssp.voya.com or weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., CT, via the TRS SSP Service Center at 844-877-4572 (844-TRS-457B). Beginning January 1, 2023, members can enroll at a per pay period flat dollar amount or as a percentage of pre-tax compensation.
Employees eligible for automatic enrollment in the SSP who do not wish to participate should cancel their automatic enrollment prior to the automatic enrollment effective date indicated in the Automatic Enrollment Notice they will receive by mail at their home address on file with TRS. New TRS members will have 30 days to cancel their automatic enrollment in the SSP after they are first reported to TRS by their employer. Members can make an affirmative election to participate or not participate in the SSP in advance of the automatic enrollment effective date indicated in the Automatic Enrollment Notice 24/7 at trsilssp.voya.com or weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., CT, via the TRS SSP Service Center at 844-877-4572 (844-TRS-457B).
10. How are employers notified when an employee is enrolled or makes changes to existing SSP contribution(s)? Where do I find the SSP Deferrals Report?
A comprehensive SSP Deferrals Report generates each time a change is made to an employee’s SSP elections and an email notification is sent to the employer’s Reporting and Accounting contacts. The SSP Deferrals Report is available in the Gemini Employer Portal under TRS Reports.
If an employee is initially automatically enrolled in the SSP, a “Yes” will populate in the Auto Enrolled column of the SSP Deferrals Report for reference. Employees eligible for automatic enrollment that have opted out prior to their automatic enrollment effective date will not be included on the SSP Deferrals Report.
Employers should reference the most recent SSP Deferrals Report in the Gemini Employer Portal when processing payroll, paying attention to the Contribution Effective Date, Contribution Category and Contribution (amount or percentage). Employers should not begin SSP deferrals for any employee until it is included on the SSP Deferrals Report.
11. What if an employee is automatically enrolled and wants to opt out?
Contributions are effective the first of the month following the automatic enrollment effective date. Employees may elect to stop contributions at any time.
If automatically enrolled and contributions have been taken, in accordance with 40 ILCS 5/16-204, automatically enrolled members have 90 days to withdraw from the benefit and receive a refund of amounts deferred, plus or minus any applicable earnings, investment fees, and administrative fees. The request must be made within 90 days of the first contribution at trsilssp.voya.com or weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT via the TRS SSP Service Center at 844-877-4572 (844-TRS-457B).
NOTE: Employees who elect to withdraw their automatic contributions within the 90-day period will forfeit any employer matching contributions made with respect to such automatic contributions, in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. Forfeited employer matching contributions will remain in the SSP and be used to pay plan-related expenses. To prevent the forfeiture of employer matching contributions, employers may wish to wait to begin making matching contributions under the SSP until after the 90-day permissible withdrawal period has concluded. Employers should consider this information as they negotiate their employment-related contracts.
12. How are SSP deferrals processed and reported? How is the payment pulled from the bank?
SSP deferrals must be processed in the employer’s payroll system and reported in the Gemini Employer Portal, using the File Upload or Data Entry (Replication) Process. Defined Contribution Reporting Procedures are found at Gemini Resources.
SSP deferral payments will be pulled by Voya’s custodial bank from the bank account on file in Gemini for Retirement Plan “All” or “Defined Contribution.” Submit the SSP (DC) Report in Gemini through the Payment step and the corresponding amount will be pulled via ACH during the daily post batch process. Banking Procedures are found at Gemini Resources.
Employers may need to set up Voya as a vendor to process SSP payments. Click here for Voya’s W-9. The ACH Company ID to be used for the TRS SSP is 5555587807. Please provide this number to your financial institution to ensure the ACH pull is not blocked.
13. How should SSP employee contributions be reported in Box 12 of the W-2?
Box 12 depends on whether the contribution is Pre-tax or Roth. Code G should be entered for Pre-tax (03, 04, 05) and code EE for Roth contributions (06, 07, 08). TRS cannot provide tax advice, but additional information can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw2w3.pdf.
14. How are SSP deferrals – new, existing, changes – handled during summer months?
- SSP Reporting and contributions are to be submitted when the employees’ payroll is paid (not processed).
- If the payroll closes in June, but isn’t paid until a later date, do not report the contributions in June, but according to the pay date.
- If the payrolls are paid in advance, the reporting and contributions should be completed upon payment, so deferrals can be invested timely once they are withheld from a participant’s paycheck.
- If summer payrolls are closed by a certain date, changes made following that date should be made as soon as administratively possible.
- TRS SSP should be included in the notice sent to employees, informing them that changes made after a certain date will not be processed until the first pay period in September (or whatever date you anticipate). If a member intends to enroll or make any changes, he/she should call the TRS SSP Service Center or use the TRS SSP website to make any changes prior to the cutoff and the employer should consider the latest SSP Deferrals Report when processing summer payrolls.
- If summer payrolls are put into a pending status, but not closed, changes should be made in the first payroll administratively possible following the Contribution Effective Date.
- Employers are welcome to encourage employees to make any changes prior to a cutoff date.
- Once SSP deferrals are withheld from a member’s paycheck and reported via DC reporting in Gemini, they should not be reversed on payroll.
15. What are the annual maximum contribution amounts for each SSP Contribution Category?
This information can be found on the TRS employer area under Contributions Rates and Earnings Limitations. Contribution category codes are included within each section below. Limits will be updated annually.
16. Is the SSP contribution deducted for all pay periods, even for a bi-weekly payroll schedule (26 pay periods)? What about Special Pays?
It depends on whether the employee elected to contribute flat dollar deferrals or a percentage of their compensation to the SSP.
Flat Dollar Deferrals: If members enrolling in the SSP elect to contribute a flat dollar amount per pay period, the flat dollar deferral amount should be taken out of each of their normal scheduled pay periods, including all 26 pay periods for bi-weekly payroll schedules. The flat dollar deferral amount should not be deducted from any special pay or stipend.
Percentage Deferrals (including automatic enrollment): If members enrolling in the SSP elect to contribute a percentage of their compensation per pay period, the deferral percentage should be taken out of all pays, including scheduled pay periods, special pays and stipends. IMPORTANT: Please note SSP compensation is notthe same as TRS earnings but should generally be the same as other 457(b) or 403(b) plans you may offer. The percentage deferral should apply to compensation for all services provided by the employee to his or her employer, including non-teaching employment. Select this link for the SSP Compensation Definition Summary of Compensation, including examples and FAQs.
17. What is the difference between contribution category code “09 - SSP Pretax Employer Match” and “10 - SSP Pretax Employer Non-elective”?
- Discretionary Matching Contributions (09- SSP Pretax Employer Match) - defined as contributions made to the SSP by the employer that are related to the participant's contributions to the SSP or another retirement plan.
- Discretionary Non-elective Contributions (10 - SSP Pretax Employer Non-elective) - defined as contributions made to the SSP by the employer that are not related to the participant's contributions to the SSP or another retirement plan.
18. Can I submit Employer Contributions by using contribution category code “03” like before?
TRS will temporarily continue to accept a contribution category code of "03 - SSP Pretax" for employer contributions to allow time for payroll vendors and employers to make the transition to these new codes; however, using the "03" contribution category for employer contributions will be treated as "10 - SSP Pretax Employer Non-elective" contributions. Payroll vendors and employers should make the appropriate changes in their systems to accommodate these new contribution category codes as soon as possible.
- Data Entry (Replication) - To submit employer contributions, an additional record will need to be added for the employee. Select copy from the drop-down arrow next to the employee(s) name. Remember to change the contribution category to either “09” or “10” to represent the correct Employer Contribution type.
- File Upload – SSP Employer Reporting File Format
19. How do I update the SSP Participation Agreement to add Discretionary Matching Contribution and/or the Discretionary Nonelective Contribution?
20. How do members access their SSP accounts?
Instructions for members to access their individual SSP accounts are located here: https://trsilssp.voya.com/einfo/pdfs/forms/trssoi/TRSSSPAccountAccessFlyer.pdf